Dr. Jonathan Keeling

Research Theme:
Condensed Matter and Photonics
Research Groups:
Hard Condensed Matter, Photonics
St. Andrews
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)1334 463121
School of Physics & Astronomy, Physical Science Building, North Haugh, St Andrews, KY16 9SS, United Kingdom

Research interests

My resesarch focuses on coupled matter-light systems, and on non-equilibrium phase transitions in those systems.  Strong coupling between matter and light can be acheived by placing matter in optical cavities, concentrating the electromagnetic field strength and thus the coupling to matter.  Examples of this include microcavity polaritons, where photons in a microcavity couple to electronic excitations of solid state systems.  This can involve both excitons (bound electron hole pairs) in standard semiconductors, as well as electronic excitations in organic materials.  Other examples involve ultracold atoms in optical cavities, or superconducting circuites in microwave resonators.

In all these systems, it is possible to couple together large numbers of interacting systems, and thus to potentially see collective behaviour, such as phase transitions.  However, no real physical system can perfectly contain light, and so this collective behaviour is of a new class, phase transitions in open quantum systems, where loss has to be balanced by some form of external pumping.

My current research interest has three main strands:

  • Cold atoms in optical cavities.  Here we focus on how ongoing experiments by the Lev group in Stanford can be used to explore the physics of phase transitions in open quantum systems, and to provide new tools for quantum simulation.
  • Exact numerical methods for phase transitions in open systems: Here we develop approaches based on matrix product states to give a generic understanding of the physics of phase transitions in open systems, focussing on solvable models.
  • Strong matter light coupling with complex materials.  In particular, we focus extensively on the physics of organic molecules.  Here it is possible to use matter light coupling to change the conformation of molecules, and potentially alter chemical reaction rates.  We are also particularly interested in the interplay of this coupling with electronic transport in these materials.


I teach the final-year quantum field theory course, also open to graduate student.  I also teach a graduate course on quantum phase transitions and quantum magnetism.

Research outputs

  1. Atom-only descriptions of the driven dissipative Dicke model
    François Damanet, Andrew J. Daley and Jonathan Keeling, Physical Review. A, Atomic, molecular, and optical physics (2019)
  2. Fluorescence spectrum and thermalization in a driven coupled cavity array DOI
    Dainius Kilda and Jonathan Keeling, Physical Review Letters, 122, 4 (2019)
  3. Organic polariton lasing and the weak- to strong-coupling crossover DOI
    Artem Strashko, Peter Kirton and Jonathan Keeling, Physical Review Letters, 121, 19 (2018)
  4. Spinor self-ordering of a quantum gas in a cavity DOI
    Ronen M. Kroeze, Yudan Guo, Varun D. Vaidya, Jonathan Keeling and Benjamin L. Lev, Physical Review Letters, 121, 16 (2018)
  5. Introduction to the Dicke model DOI
    Peter Kirton, Mor M. Roses, Jonathan Keeling and Emanuele G. Dalla Torre, Advanced Quantum Technologies, Early View (2018)
  6. Coherently driven microcavity-polaritons and the question of superfluidity DOI
    R. T. Juggins, J. Keeling and M. H. Szymańska, Nature Communications, 9 (2018)
  7. Efficient non-Markovian quantum dynamics using time-evolving matrix product operators DOI
    Aidan Strathearn, Peter George Kirton, Dainius Kilda, Jonathan Mark James Keeling and Brendon William Lovett, Nature Communications, 9 (2018)
  8. Boundary time crystals DOI
    F. Iemini, A. Russomanno, J. Keeling, M. Schirò, M. Dalmonte and R. Fazio, Physical Review Letters, 121, 3 (2018)
  9. Orientational alignment in cavity quantum electrodynamics DOI
    Jonathan Mark James Keeling and Peter George Kirton, Physical Review. A, Atomic, molecular, and optical physics, 97, 5 (2018)
  10. Generalized classes of continuous symmetries in two-mode Dicke models DOI
    Ryan Moodie, Kyle Ballantine and Jonathan Mark James Keeling, Physical Review. A, Atomic, molecular, and optical physics, 97, 3 (2018)
Last updated: 21 Mar 2017 at 14:24